As you can imagine, the laundry message floated well with a few and sunk like lead with others.  When I asked them to pick their days, TTO was the first to speak.  “I’ll take Wednesday!”   … “I want Tuesday,” chimed in Sister Save-A-Lot.  “Give me Thursday,” added Speed Police.  Since Slow Walker is at kamp, I gave him Monday.

Then I heard a hushed but victorious, “YES!!!” coming from TTO, way in the backseat.   It might have even been accompanied by an arm pump … it had that sound.  (Yes we’re in the car – again. We get some of our best conversations handled in the car.  I think I save the potentially dicey ones for times when they are prisoners in their seats.)

I admit, I can be a little slow on the uptake, but when a teen is pumped about laundry, there’s got to be something fishy.  It didn’t take me long to realize that he had instantly figured that there could be some advantage to picking our housekeeper’s day to match his.  One thing about that kid … he’s no dummy.  Oh how I hope he uses his tenacity and quick wit to do good for the world instead of using it to take the path of least resistance and effort.

“FYI … If you pick Clara’s day, you need to know that you’ll still be doing your laundry.  Just after she leaves.”  I quickly pipe in.

“What??!!  You can’t be serious!”

“Oh yes … I’m serious.”

“Why do we need to do our own laundry.  I’m only 13!!!” He moans.

Hmmm.  The “I’m 13” phrase can take on such different meanings.  There’s the “I’m 13” sarcastically thrown my way when a PG-13 movie is in question.  Then there’s the “I’m 13”, as in only 13 and should never have to do an adult job.

Oh, I have such a long way to go.  I wish I had started this stuff when they were much younger.

But, I digress.  I do have to show you my new and improved space, all clean/organized/spiffed up.  No more ducking or dodging falling objects when you open the door.

No more shelf buckling under the weight of extra cleaning products, baskets full of old shoes/sports paraphernalia, little extras piled literally from the top shelf to the ceiling.  When I’m done mothering, Ringling Brothers might hire me to wow audiences with my amazing balancing skill.

No more squeezing through the cramped entrance … thanks to the tennis rackets, bags full of necessities (like last year’s halloween candy), and the protrusion of shirts/pants that needed to hang dry (no need to mention most have been hanging there for at least six months) clustered on the wall.
It is now organized and neat.  Even the cabinet over our washer and drier can now welcome its new friends detergent and softener (plus a few other cleaning products and non-essentials).  Tide and Bounce are so happy to have a home rather than fight for space on top of the machines.

Speed Police begged to go first (even though her day is actually tomorrow) because she has no clean shorts.  (By the way, thanks MOAT mom Juliet for the idea to zip the extra cash (as incentive) and let them reap the rewards of clean vs. bearing the consequences of dirty clothes.  … However, I think we all know that some of these kids will go to great lengths to avoid work.  Remember our MOAT mom who recently discovered her child digging in mom’s underwear drawer rather than wash her own!)

Speed Police was ready to go.

She put in her clothes.


Added the detergent.



Chose her cycle and hit start.

“That was SO easy, Mom.  I don’t know what the big deal is.”  … I won’t point out that her load, completed over 5 hours ago, is still in the washer waiting to be dried.  Or that the
clothes that were in the drier needing folding are still on our couch – clumped in a pile – in her basket.  (I tried to convince her that folding the clothes while you’re taking them out of the drier works much better.  I think she might have been born with her mother’s procrastination gene.  It has to be genetic…)  Her basket sure is cute, though.

Sharpies make everything fun … and crafty :)


Super cute baskets.
By the way, Jack is helping put the clothes in take them out, plus fold the towels.  I’m not waiting on this kid.  Hopefully he won’t know life without simple work.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

Tune in tomorrow for a great guest blog from one of my favorite parenting teen bloggers, the author of Growing Up Well.  He always has interesting insight on relevant topics.  I can’t wait to read what he has to share!  :)

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